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Digital stories

What is digital story telling?

Digital Stories are multimedia movies that combine photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text, and often a narrative voice. Digital stories may be used as an expressive medium within the classroom to integrate subject matter with existent knowledge and skills from across the curriculum. Students can work individually or collaboratively to produce their own digital stories. Once completed, these stories can easily be uploaded to the Internet and can be made available to an international audience, depending on the topic and purpose of the project.

Roland, C. (2006). Digital stories in the classroomSchool Art105 (7), 26.

Why use digital stories in the classroom?

Learning by telling digital stories is fun and creative. As students create stories, they learn to research while analysing and synthesising a wide range of content. Communication skills are developed as students learn to organise their ideas, ask questions, express opinions, and construct narratives. Students learn to put different pieces of media together in order to develop an effective story for an audience.

Students who are learning English as a second language have found benefits in digital storytelling. Retelling and creating their stories supports their oral language development.

When digital stories are published online, students are sharing their work with an authentic audience, including their peers. This provides opportunities for feedback, and learning through the examples of others. Digital storytelling appeals to students with diverse learning styles and fosters collaboration with students working in groups.

Bridget Harrison, a teacher at Kimi Ora Community School, shares how she scaffolded the writing process for her students through creating digital stories.

Grow Waitaha DigiAwards foster authentic learning through digital creativity. This entry Te Waka O Tama Rēreti from Bromley School was 2019 overall runner-up.

Filter by: Primary Secondary

Students looking into dam.

Developing informative writing skills by creating a documentary – A teacher inquiry

Renee Strawbridge (DP Mt Biggs School) shares her purpose and how she researched and structured her teacher inquiry.

Teacher sharing exemplar with class.

Identifying features of a documentary

Mt Biggs School students and their teacher explain how they developed their understanding of how to film a documentary.

Students writing.

Developing writing skills in the context of making a documentary

Mt Biggs School teacher, Renee Strawbridge and her students explain how they used storyboards to structure information while making a documentary.

Students looking at mobile device.

Students’ story: Making a documentary about eels

Students from years 6,7,8 at Mt Biggs School share how their writing improved through the process of making a documentary.

Student filming musician.

Supporting students to construct documentary videos

Year 6/7/8 teacher, Renee Strawbridge and her students explain how they organised their planning and received feedback to successfully film their videos. 

Improving oral language and writing with Photostory

Improving oral language and writing with Photostory

Irongate School teacher, Marion Croad, describes the improvements in her New Entrant students' written and oral language as a result of using Photostory.

Teaching digital stories using tuakana-tana

Teaching digital stories using tuakana-teina

Irongate School has a focus on improving student literacy levels particularly for their large population of Māori and Pasifika students.

Using digital stories to improve student literacy

Using digital stories to improve student literacy

School teacher Natasha Jacobs and students from her Year 5/6 class explain how they create a storywheel that is then digitised and supported with audio narration. 

Improving student writing with digital stories

Improving student writing with digital stories

Bridget Harrison at Kimi Ora Community School shares how her students are using digital stories to scaffold the writing process.

Students filming on tablet

Using digital technologies to support te reo Māori

Teachers and students at Tautoro School talk about videos they have created to support the learning of te reo Māori. "Our students make resources for themselves. Digital learning objects where they make the creations of promoting more vocabulary in their language."

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Key resource

Examples, resources, and ideas for integrating digital storytelling into the classroom. 

Digital storytelling
Resources for digital storytelling and multimodal literacy from Stony Brook University.

Digital storytelling
Educational technologist, Kathy Schrock provides classroom ideas and practices, assessment and research, resources, tools, and examples of digital stories on her website.

About digital storytelling
The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California developed the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling, which are a useful starting point as you begin working with digital stories.